Scott Plakon, Tracey Kagan air differences on masks, budget priorities in HD 29 fight
Expect a firey battle between Tracy Kagan and Scott Plakon.

kagan, tracy - plakon, scott
Clear differences emerge in debate.

This is what it sounds like when candidates agree to disagree.

Republican Rep. Scott Plakon and Democratic challenger Tracey Kagan in House District 29 have plenty to disagree about. Stark differences emerge on issues ranging from Medicaid expansion to parental notifications for teens seeking abortions.

On Friday, at a Tiger Bay of Central Florida virtual debate, the pair wouldn’t stop just there. Such is the prospect for a conservative incumbent and a liberal challenger who’ve shown no fondness for one another in what arguably is the most hostile election battle in Central Florida.

HD 29 represents western Seminole County.

“There is a big difference between Scott Plakon and I,” Kagan concluded.

Certainly that was evidenced by answers they gave on the parental notification bill for teenage girls seeking abortions.

“This is an attempt by the Republicans … to manipulate a woman’s right to make decisions regarding their own bodies.” Plakon said, “The welfare of that child … is the responsibility of the parents.”

On Medicaid expansion, blocked for a decade now by Republicans who say it’s too expensive for Florida, and sought by Democrats as a way to expand coverage to at least 800,000 people: Plakon said, “Medicaid itself is problematic” with no improved outcomes and high costs, $600-700 million for Florida. Kagan countered, “$14.3 billion from the federal government will come to Florida … and  [it will] cover 800,000 Floridians, 40,000 of which are veterans.”

Plakon, meanwhile, played down the COVID-19 crisis, which Democrats have been using as evidence that better health care access is needed.

“The pandemic will soon be over. We’ll have a vaccine next year,” he said.

Kagan disagreed.

“We’re not turning a corner. We’re going into a deeper (pandemic) with more numbers of deaths from coronavirus in Florida,” she argued.

Harshness continued on issues they came close to agreement, including budget priorities, teacher pay, affordable housing, law enforcement reform, and mask wearing.

They agreed in principal that it is important for everyone to wear masks in public. The differences in opinion came on whether there should be a state mandate — Kagan yes, Plakon no — and whether enough is being done to encourage them – Plakon yes, Kagan no.

They both agree that the state’s Sadowski Trust Fund for Affordable Housing should be reserved for affordable housing, as much as possible. Plakon applauded the higher amount set aside this year and said he wants it “extensively or fully funded.” Kagan offered no caveats, citing affordable housing as one of her top budget priorities: “That was created for affordable housing. It must not be touched. Period.”

On law enforcement reform, Kagan brushed back allegations Plakon raised.

“I do not want to defund police. I stand for law and order. But I also stand for social justice,” she contended.

Plakon replied that, sure, bad cops need to be dealt with, but “the dividing line is what preference we give to law enforcement.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]



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